partlycloudy
Sunday September 24th, 2017 3:29PM

Election panel vice-chair: Group may not recommend changes

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — The vice chairman of President Donald Trump's commission on election fraud on Tuesday dismissed criticism that the panel is bent on voter suppression, saying there is a "high possibility" it will make no recommendations when it finishes its work — and even if it does, it can't force states to adopt them.

Trump, a Republican, created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in May to investigate his unsubstantiated claims that millions of people voted illegally in 2016. Democrats have blasted the commission as a biased panel determined to curtail voting rights, and they ramped up their criticism ahead of and during the group's daylong meeting in New Hampshire.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, said some voters have canceled their registrations or been hesitant to register since learning the group has asked state governments to provide data on individual voters.

"Their voting suppression impact has already begun," he said on a press call organized by the Democratic National Committee.

The commission in June requested any records considered public by states, including driver's license numbers, partial Social Security numbers and voting histories. No state is sending all of the information sought, and 14 states are denying the commission's request.

There was no mention of the data request during the commission's meeting, which included presentations about historical election turnout data, electronic voting systems and issues affecting public confidence in elections. But speaking to reporters afterward, commission vice chairman Kris Kobach emphasized that states are only being asked to send already-public information and called the Democrats' criticism about voter suppression "bizarre."

"The claim goes something like this: The commission will meet, then they'll recommend things like photo ID or some other election security measure, then the states will adopt them. There's your leap in logic. The commission does not have the ability to do a Jedi mind trick on a state legislature and force them to adopt anything," said Kobach, the Republican secretary of state in Kansas.

"All the commission is doing is collecting data," he added. "It may make recommendations, or I think at this point there's a high possibility the commission makes no recommendations and they just say, 'Here's the data. States, do with it what you want.'"

Privacy advocates have raised concerns about the information being collected in one central place, although the commission has said the detailed data will not be made public and will be destroyed when the commission is done with it.

Kobach said 20 states have sent data so far. He said the commission hopes to use it to investigate possible cases of people voting in multiple states but said that will depend on how much information it receives.

"It may be that the commission is not able to say we were able to look at all 50 states and here is the size of this particular problem," he said.

Kobach also was admonished by fellow commission member and Democratic New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner after clarifying recent comments he made alleging voter fraud in New Hampshire.

Kobach last week wrote a column for the conservative site Breitbart claiming statistics on thousands of people who used out-of-state licenses to register to vote in New Hampshire amounted to proof that people enter the state from elsewhere specifically to cast fraudulent votes. Kobach had said "it appears" that's why Democrat Maggie Hassan won her U.S. Senate seat in November.

"I'm still wondering if that was the right word to use," he said Tuesday, acknowledging that New Hampshire allows college students, military personnel and others to vote in the state without becoming residents and getting driver's licenses if they consider the state their domicile.

"Until further research is done ... we will never know the answer regarding the legitimacy of that particular election," Kobach said.

Gardner, who has resisted calls for him to leave the commission over Kobach's comments, said the Senate race results were "real and valid" and reminded Kobach to stay on task.

"In the first couple of meetings we had, the chairman of the commission made it very clear to me ... we work in a way that we don't have preconceived or preordained ideas about what the facts are going to be," he said. "We're going to search for the truth. That is something we need to all stay focused on."

Another commission member, Democratic Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, was more pointed, calling Kobach's comments "reckless."

"There's utterly no connectivity between motor vehicle law and election law. Primarily, you have a right to vote. Driving is a privilege," he said. "Making this equation that somehow people not updating their driver's licenses is indicative of voter fraud would be almost as absurd as saying if you have cash in your wallet that's proof that you robbed a bank."

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Michigan attorney general Schuette launches run for governor
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is making official what has long seemed inevitable _ he's running for governor
8:18PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Election panel vice-chair: Group may not recommend changes
The vice chairman of President Donald Trump's commission on election fraud says there's a "high possibility" the panel will make no recommendations, and even if it does, it can't force states to adopt them
8:16PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Election panel co-chair: Group may not make recommendations
The vice chairman of President Donald Trump's commission on election fraud says there's a "high possibility" the panel will make no recommendations, and even if it does, it can't force states to adopt them
8:02PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Wisconsin Senate approves $3 billion for Foxconn
The Wisconsin Senate has approved nearly $3 billion in cash payments for Foxconn Technology Group, while also giving the Taiwanese company a slightly less expedited path to the state Supreme Court for certain legal challenges to the project
7:18PM ( 1 hour ago )
Justices allow Trump administration ban on most refugees
The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to maintain its restrictive policy on refugees
7:18PM ( 1 hour ago )
Seattle's mayor resigns after 5th sex abuse claim emerges
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced his resignation Tuesday after a fifth man came forward to accuse him of sexual abuse decades ago
6:07PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Senate GOP struggles with deficit in work on budget, taxes
The Republican Senate leader and members of the Budget Committee are scrambling to come up with a budget deal to clear the way for the first tax overhaul in three decades
5:24PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: GOP ponders tax overhaul's effect on deficit
Senate Republicans are struggling with how many billions of dollars President Donald Trump's tax code overhaul will add to the deficit as they work on a GOP budget plan that's a prerequisite to any far-reaching change in the nation's tax system
4:20PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP, other media sue for info from Washington state lawmakers
A coalition of news organizations led by The Associated Press is suing the Washington Legislature over its assertion that state lawmakers aren't required to turn over calendars, text messages and other materials related to their work
3:40PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: Sanders forces universal health care issue
Sen. Bernie Sanders is forcing the Democratic Party to take sides over his proposal to provide government-run health care for all
4:36PM ( 3 hours ago )
Hillary Clinton signs copies of new book at NYC bookstore
Hundreds of people have crowded into a New York City bookstore to see Hillary Clinton as she promotes her new book on the 2016 presidential campaign
3:52PM ( 4 hours ago )
White House accuses Clinton of 'reckless attacks' in book
The White House is accusing former campaign rival Hillary Clinton of "propping up book sales with false and reckless attacks."
3:40PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Elections
Racial politics color New York City's looming mayoral race
The story of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's 2017 re-election highlights the Democratic Party's broader struggle with racial politics in the age of Trump
11:18AM ( 1 day ago )
Democrat to stay on Trump voter panel despite calls to leave
New Hampshire's secretary of state says he will remain on a Trump advisory commission though he disagrees with voter fraud allegations made by the panel's vice chairman about his state
3:42PM ( 4 days ago )
Bannon: 'Access Hollywood' tape cost Christie a Cabinet post
A meeting about the fallout to Donald Trump's presidential campaign over the "Access Hollywood" tape was a litmus test that cost New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a potential Cabinet post
12:42PM ( 4 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
Michigan attorney general Schuette launches run for governor
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is making official what has long seemed inevitable _ he's running for governor
8:18PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Election panel co-chair: Group may not make recommendations
The vice chairman of President Donald Trump's commission on election fraud says there's a "high possibility" the panel will make no recommendations, and even if it does, it can't force states to adopt them
8:02PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Edith Windsor, who helped end gay marriage ban, dies at 88
Edith Windsor, who successfully challenged a federal law banning same-sex marriage, has died
7:40PM ( 45 minutes ago )
US Justice Department won't charge Baltimore police officers
The U.S. Department of Justice won't bring charges against six Baltimore officers involved in Freddie Gray's arrest and death
7:39PM ( 46 minutes ago )
FEMA estimates 25 percent of Florida Keys homes are gone
Federal emergency officials are estimating 25 percent of the homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed by Hurricane Irma
7:32PM ( 54 minutes ago )